Last night I had to be mature and grown-up.
I’m not really very good at this. i know I have a child, but to be quite honest, half the time, I just treat her like a small person that lives in my house. The whole thought of being ‘mature’ makes me think of my parents. OK…maybe that’s a bad comparison, as I don’t think my parents have ever actually grown up. My dad STILL rings my mobile secretly when I’m round there, just to see how quickly he can make me run for my bag.
Anyway – this was serious grown-up business. An (obviously) very very close friend of mine has (for reasons I wont go into) brought her sister’s son up as her own since he was born (she brought him home from the hospital), and we all regard him as her son (including him) – and now that he’s at school (he’s 5 1/2) she’s decided to go for official adoption – and I am her personal referee.
So, I had to have a social worker come and visit me last night and ask me loads of questions about my friend, her parenting skills, our friendship and all sorts of very odd-seeming questions. I was petrified that a ‘grown up’ would see right through me, decide I wasn’t responsible enough to act as a referee and that my mate wouldn’t be able to keep her son. It didn’t matter that the social worker was probably about 10 years younger than me!
But it DID make me think. my mate is an amazing parent – she is SO calm! I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone as calm as her. And she has two teenage daughters. How can you be calm when you have two teenage daughters? I can’t even manage it with one little surreal brat who hasn’t yet made it to 11 (and may well not if she carries on giving me lip!)
And it made me think again about all of my friends and their kids and their relationship with their kids etc etc. And it struck me that my mates that have the calmest parenting skill, and the most agreeable teenagers are all single parents!!
Is there something in that? I know that when The Man is out for the evening, everything seems so much more relaxed with just me & The Girl – but then that could be because we have just ‘girlie time’ and it doesn’t happen very often. She does exactly what I say, when I say to do it, and is just really pleasant, and I feel so calm and relaxed.
But then The Man says that I am far too soft with her, and when he’s not around, I probably do give her a bit more leeway. So is it that dual parenting is more difficult because if you don’t agree with each other 100% on absolutely everything, you still have to back each other up and show a united front as parents, and that can be quite draining?
Looking back, i really didn’t mind being a single parent. I found it tiring, but that was purely because I was working full time and running around dropping off/picking up etc – it wasn’t emotionally draining like it often feels now – but that might just be because she was so much younger and cuter then, LOL
Should parents be single?